Dehydrating Spaghetti for hiking – cheap, simple and fast

Great food for hiking?
Simple and fast to prepare and rehydrate?
Excellent tasting high energy backpacking food?
Spaghetti bolognese joins “Our Hiking Blog Menu” as a cheap and tasty meal.

Spaghetti Bolognese – cheap, very tasty and an easy meal for multi day hiking

We have been drying food for bushwalking for the last few years and love the simplicity of drying our home cooked meals. We can control the portion size and make sure we have enough to eat after a long hard day in the bush. The taste and flavours are also important when we hike and on our last trip to Tasmania we tried drying Spaghetti Bolognese for the first time.

It was a great success and a very simple process.
– We cooked the bolognese sauce as normal.
– We cooked the spaghetti as normal (after cutting it into thirds)
– We mixed the sauce and pasta together.
– We filled up a bowl (for each of us) with our normal serving size and then added about 25%. We are always hungrier out on the trail compared with at home. This gives us the correct meal portion to dehydrate.
– We dried the meals in our fruit dryer on the fruit leather trays (stir it occasionally to ensure even drying.
– We refrigerated the dried meal in a ziploc bag until the trip.
– We added some grated parmesan cheese to a separate lightweight sandwich bag and sealed it into the meal bag ready to add once rehydrated and heated.

Hi, Frank & Sue here,

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The Spaghetti Bolognese on a fruit leather tray, ready to dry

The Spaghetti Bolognese dry and ready for storage

Bagged up and ready for rehydrating.

When you arrive at camp:
– boil some water and place your meal in a large cooking pot
– cover the pasta with the boiling water and put on the pot lid
– have a cuppa and relax
– every 10 minutes (or so) gently stir the pasta
– add more water as the pasta absorbs it
– when you are ready to eat, gently heat the pasta.
– sprinkle with the grated parmesan cheese
– enjoy


  1. nixanz says

    Hi Frank! I tried Bolognese as one of my first ever dehydrated meals and it was a disaster. It didn’t rehydrate well, and tasted horrible (kind of burnt taste?)

    So I’d really like to figure out what I did wrong.

    Did you use a high temperature on your dehydrator? Did your mince have a high fat content?

    Nik (Bushwalk Tasmania)

  2. Frank and Sue says

    Geday Nik,
    Nice to hear from you.
    With the mince we brown it and then put it in a sieve and run it under hot water to remove the fat.
    We also wipe out the frypan before we add the mince back so there is minimal fat around (as you are aware , fat will not dry)

    Re the temperature, I don’t set it at any specific temp. If I am around and can stir it frequently, would set it 3/4 high. If we are away for a few hours, set it on low. Reckon low is better.

    The trick, I think, is to get it JUST dry i.e. not crunchy. I feel it between my fingers a lot in the late stages. If crumbly TOO DRY.

    Should also note, we JUST cook spagetti before we add it and then dry. Helps keep its shape and form.

    This is the first time we has dried the sauce and pasta together and we were very impressed. Slow rehydration and gentle heating meant a great , one pot meal (with minimal fuel usage)

  3. Levi Cole says

    Very nice I think this will be use full in he future. I will have to try it out.

    If you don’t mind I have started a hiking/camping blog of my own at

    Let me know what you think, Constructive critique is welcome

  4. Graeme says

    A few questions (dehydrating food is completely new to me).

    – how many days before the trip do you usually dehydrate the food?
    – have you had any problems with Quarantine on entering Tasmania with home-dried food?
    – how many days can a dried meal be safely stored in a backpack (is this safe for a 6-7 day hike)
    – where did you buy your dehydrator and can you recommend a particular unit?

    • Frank says

      Busy fella Graeme!
      – a mate drys and freezes his spag up to 3 months before the walk
      – we usually dry the week before and leave it refrigerated

      – NO problems with quarantine in Tassie – link to their site is in the Overland Track ebook – here it is for anyone else:

      – I would happily store it for a month in my pack IF it was dried properly, had all the fat removed etc. Clare, our daughter, has had stuff with her for over 2 weeks that was dried. We regularly take dried meals for 6-7 days.

      – I think it was bought at Myer or a large department store. It is a Fowlers one. Three familiies bought it together and we share it around. (we got extra trays and “leather” sheets.

      Great questions, hope I have helped.

  5. says

    Thanks very much for the info, I haven’t tried dehydrating food for camping, but I will try it next time. Would be much easier than making it from scratch while camping.

    • Frank says

      Hi Tina,
      It works really well and re- hydrates beautifully. In our new book there will be step by step tips on how to dry a huge range of food!
      Cheers, Frank

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